Whiskey scammers on twitter are professional criminals mostly operating out of places like Africa (Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana etc). These scams aren’t just carried out by individuals. Organized crime groups have also set up sophisticated operations involving websites, salespeople, intermediaries, and bank accounts. Scams often involve more than one country in order to confuse victims and complicate investigations.
Most of these frauds involve a non-delivery scam, where you pay for a product that does not exist and will never be shipped. Some scam accounts simply set the bait and wait while others actively pursue their marks.
Their websites often look legitimate. They will advertise on social media, building their following by piggybacking on legitimate accounts. Scammers create profiles with false identities using fake photos to attract potential victims. They steal photos and video of rare whiskies and then offer them at reasonable prices to bait people into buying. They prefer DMs, text, or email and anonymous payments such as gift cards, wire transfer, Zelle, Venmo, etc. If you push for more secure payments they will have a ton of pre-planned excuses ready.
Then, if you've already paid, they may introduce a fraudulent shipping company or insurance arrangement. This is another scam to get more of your money. These will appear legit, with login credentials, tracking numbers etc. All fake. You may be asked to continue paying invented fees until you realize you've been had. Some folks are taken for thousands. Scams constantly evolve and they change tactics once they stop being effective.
Avoiding Common Whiskey Scams Online:
Do your research! Purchase from reputable dealers. Check Twitter accounts selling whiskey with Whiskey Scam Alert and suspicious dealer websites on Scam Advisor before you make any purchases.
Avoid those too-good-to-be-true offers. Sure, this should be common sense but so many people get hooked. Scammers rely on the open and trusting nature of this community as well as the attraction to rare bottles at good prices. Legitimate businesses run sales, but if a deal is hard to believe, you need to take a second look.
Don’t buy a bottle from a stranger online without confirming it physically. On Twitter, most of these scams are run out of African countries and there is no product at all. Request photo proof from the seller that they have the bottle or a video call to view the products and evaluate the seller.
Watch out for sellers initiating contact, especially via social media. That new account with the loads of pretty photos of hard to find bottles that just DM'd you? Ya, it's a scam. Legitimate businesses rarely contact first, and if they do it's usually through a clear form of direct marketing.
Conduct a reverse image search of the picture of the bottle you are considering. If the same picture appears on multiple websites or social media posts, it’s a fraud. You can also search for distinctive text from ads or testimonials, to see if the seller copied it from another website.
Watch for a sense of urgency. Scammers want this deal done NOW so they can ride off with your money. They want to strike fast before you've had any time to think it through carefully.
Think before making unconventional payments. Scammers prefer gift cards, wire transfer, or apps like Zelle, Venmo, and Cash App. When using these apps, transfers are not protected unlike payments on a traditional credit or debit card. These payment methods offer no way to get your money back if you are the victim of fraud. You can dispute the transaction but it's unlikely to be resolved.
- Do research to get a sense of a fair price for the bottle you are considering. If someone advertises rare bottles at deeply discounted prices, it's a fraud.
If you think you've been scammed or have found a suspicious website, report it to:
BBB Scam Tracker
Federal Trade Commission
FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center
In Canada, contact the Canadian Antifraud Centre